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Dockery, Fetterman seek tougher ethics law

State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, and Rep. Adam Fetterman, D-Port St. Lucie, said Wednesday that state legislators need to be held to higher ethical standards. The two lawmakers called attention to their bills that would prohibit legislators from voting on or taking part in any legislation that would result in any special private gain for themselves or their relatives.

"This should be a no-brainer," said Dockery, a candidate for governor, noting that she has filed similar legislation the past two years but that it didn't get a single public hearing. She noted that her proposal is already on the books in 22 states, including two not known for the cleanliness of their politics, Louisiana and Rhode Island. Asked by a reporter what the penalty would be for violating her bill, Dockery said "That's a good question." (Her bill as filed, Senate Bill 438, contains no penalty provision). 

Florida legislators can vote on such matters now as long as they disclose such interest within 15 days of casting a vote. Fetterman called that standard "repugnant," and said in a news release: "It is no wonder that many Floridians have lost faith in their elected officials." 

-- Steve Bousquet